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Horse Terminology, Lingo, Terms & More!

three horses

Your first time in a boarding stable, you might feel like you’ve suddenly been transported to a different country. There are so many words flying around that you’ve never heard before, and no one likes to feel like they’re the only person not “in the know.” Lucky for you, we’ve put together this basic guide of horse terminology. Read through it, and you won’t feel so out of place next time you head to the stables and someone starts talking about how many hands their Yearling is.


Terms Referring to Horses

The following terms are all referring to horses of different sexes, sizes, or life stages, making it easy to distinguish between different types of horses.


equine pony

Ponies are miniature horses that are no taller than 14.2 hands when fully grown.


pregnant grulla gray mare
Image Credit: HTurner, Shutterstock

A mare is any adult female horse that’s three years or older.


palomino stallion horse
Image Credit: Lisa Kolbenschlag, Shutterstock

Any adult male horse three years or older that’s not castrated is a stallion.


gray gelding horse

A gelding is any male that’s three years or older that has been castrated.


equine foal lying in the grass

Foals are newborn horses that haven’t been weaned.


colt horse

Any male horse under three years of age.


filly horse running

Any female horse under three years of age.


blue roan weanling horse

Any colt or filly that’s between 6 and 12 months of age.


brown mold yearling horse

Any horse between one and two years old.


Terms About Horses

In this section, all the terms will be used to describe something about a horse, such as its height or a component of its health.

two horses in the field


Horses’ heights are measured in hands. A hand is equal to four inches.


A horse’s points are its mane, lower legs, ear tips, and tail. This term is used when describing the horse’s color.


A horse is lame when it has an injury that affects its health or performance.


Sound horses are healthy animals that are free from injuries that affect their health or performance.


Gait refers to the four different speeds a horse can travel. The four speeds are walk, trot, canter, and gallop.


This is a term about the condition of a horse’s body. Horses with good conformation are hardier and have a higher chance of remaining healthy and sound.


Horse-Related Terms

Not all horse-related terms specifically discuss horses or their traits. The following terms are referring to things that are simply related to horses in some way.


horse with western saddle

Any equipment used with a horse such as a bridle or saddle is called tack.


foal and mare

Gradually separating a foal from its mother is a process known as weaning.

Lunge Line


The lunge line is a long rein that’s usually about 20-40 feet in length meant for lunging a horse.


horse lunging

Done on a lunge line, lunging is a manner of exercising a horse entailing the horse circling the trainer who’s holding the other end of the lunge line.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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